Genealogy in Time – Let’s Talk About Plagiarism!

I often think there is only so much you can write about Copyright and Genealogy, but every so often an issue arises that makes me reconsider.  Tonight I received my copy of Genealogy in Time Magazine, and the major topic was not copyright….but beyond… Plagiarism.   It is often hard to decide when we are just sharing facts that others reported first, and we might err in trying to pass on what seems to be important information……….BUT…….. it shouldn’t be hard to know that directly copying someone else’s words and neglecting to put them in quotes or in any other way attribute them to the source is a step beyond.

I highly recommend you check out  Let’s Talk About Plagiarism  on Genealogy in Time and let the conversation begin.  Every genealogist should think about the ethics of how they share what they find.

PS….while you are on the Genealogy in Time website be sure to look at the links to new records on the web.  I find at least one new resource in every newsletter I receive.

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1 Comment

Filed under Copyright, Ethics, Genealogy, Plagiarism

One response to “Genealogy in Time – Let’s Talk About Plagiarism!

  1. I have had my work copied and never given any credit. While I will admit that a little credit would be good for my ego it really does not matter to me. Perhaps because I do not mind getting the word out to people no matter how. Also I do not make any money from my writing or research. Here is something from Mark Twain on the subject.:

    “substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily used by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them anywhere except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral calibre and his temperament, which is revealed in characteristics of phrasing. . . . It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a photograph, or a telephone, or any other Important thing– and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite–that is all he did.

    In 1868 I read Dr. Holmes’s poems, in the Sandwich Islands. A year and a half later I stole his dedication, without knowing it, and used it to dedicate my “Innocents Abroad” with. Ten years afterward I was talking with Dr. Holmes about it. He was not an ignorant ass–no, not he; . . . and so when I said, “I know now where I stole, but who did you steal it from?” he said, “I don’t remember; I only know I stole it from somebody, because I have never originated anything altogether myself, nor met anybody who had.”
    – Letter to Anne Macy. Reprinted in Anne Sullivan Macy, The Story Behind Helen Keller (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran, and Co., 1933), p.162.

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